Gurus (i.e., spiritual teachers) are human beings in whom the light of consciousness has been lit and is, hopefully, shining through. This can happen to various degrees; as long as gurus are in their bodies, however, they are dealing with egos. And, as long as they have egos, they are likely to have at least some of the flaws that plague ordinary human beings. For many of us, it is a good idea to receive some guidance—especially at the beginning of our spiritual journey; however, blindly entrusting one’s well-being to another human being is hardly recommendable. Even a cursory Internet search for “gurus,” “fraud,” and “scandal” will reveal myriad entries. Granted: highly visible leaders are likely to attract attacks at the hands of disgruntled individuals; on the other hand, however, docile spiritual communities are a temptation even for well-meaning individuals. We all know of gurus who gave in to their worst instincts under the pretext of, say, ridding their disciples of their egos. If this is the worst-case scenario, even the most benign teachers are likely to impress their own foibles and egoic patterns upon their followers, who would be better served by not taking on karmas that are not theirs to clear.
So, what to do with spiritual teachers? My recommendation is: listen carefully to them; if you like them, befriend them. There is much to be gained from the company of those who may have walked a spiritual path before you. Be kind to your gurus and express your appreciation for their efforts and teachings. However, do not accept everything they say–or ask you to do–at face value. Exercise your discernment instead.
If you are a motivated seeker, you may not even need an external guru. The world that comes into being around you will keep guiding you in mysterious ways. Just listen carefully and the truth will beckon to you.
Photo by Dingzeyu Li via Unsplash